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July 18, 2007

Random thoughts

The return of random thoughts! Its been a while. Can you handle the excitement? I seriously doubt it ...

• I will not talk about Gopher football for quite a while.

• In other Gophers news, one of my new favorite blogs is Paging Jim Shikenjanski a Gopher's sports blog that does a fantastic job discussing everything maroon and gold. Today, the author of this fine piece of writing has a great rundown of potential recruits for Gopher basketball. Let's hope Tubby can land some of these players. Anyway, nice work PJS! I encourage all of you to check it out.

• Yesterday, Freealonzo tried to tempt me in an email by sharing how to download the full-text of the new Harry Potter book online! Shame on you Freealonzo! I will patiently wait for the book to come out like everyone else should. In fact, I am 884 out of 2465 on the Hennepin County Library waiting list to check out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Knowing Hennepin County Library, I should get the book within the first couple of days. I believe they buy at least 700 copies of the book.

• Having said that, I will be at the Many Point Scout Camp all next week. Here is hoping I get the new Harry Potter by Saturday afternoon. Have any of you ever been to Many Point? What a phenomenal camp. It should be a blast.

• My two new favorite albums are Rainy Day Music and Smile by the Minneapolis band The Jayhawks. Holy crapola I am enjoying listening to these albums. Just all around good music. I have found in my older age that I no longer need the angry, us-against-them type music from bands like Smashing Pumpkins or Nirvana or Pearl Jam. I prefer thoughtful music ... perhaps music that includes some acoustic guitar, a harmonica, or even a banjo. I have Freealonzo to thank for these suggestions, especially Rainy Day Music, although I am still miffed at him for trying to tempt me off the straight and narrow path of proper and legal media consumption.

Now, just don't ask me where I got these two albums. I hear Soul Seek is a pretty nifty option though.

• So, I've been reading an interesting book called Off the Map by Fergus Fleming. It covers worldwide exploration throughout history in concise, easy to read chapters that include the stories of Magellan, Columbus, Lewis and Clark, W.E. Parry, David Livingstone, etc. I have been especially intrigued by the story of James Cook, the British explorer most credit with "discovering" Hawaii. This is a most fascinating story. Apparently, the Hawaiians treated Cook like a god on his first visit to the main island of Hawaii. The Hawaiians lavished gifts on Cook and his crew and were "astonishingly friendly." Cook accepted everything, sailed away, got four days away and then a freak storm destroyed his foremast. Cook sailed back to a much cooler reception. Check this out:

Cook had been aware that the Hawaiians considered him some kind of god, but paid little attention to it. Unfortunately, he did not appreciate the ramifications of his visit. In Hawaiian mythology, the island's prosperity depended upon the regular arrival and departure of a white-skinned god Lono, or Orono, who presided over the rainy season. His coming was celebrated by a four-month festival, Makihiki, during which his image was carried clockwise around the island, its progress punctuated by ceremonies and sacrifices. When the rains ended Lono was ritually killed in battle with Ku, the god of the dry season, and left for his home over the waves to reappear the following year. The authority of Hawaii's rulers and priests rested on this routine, and the placatory rituals had been conducted for centuries without major incident. Lono came and went; and this was how it was.

Cook's arrival in November had coincided with the festival of Makihiki. As he was white (a pale skin was associated throughout Polynesia with divinity), and as he had, by coincidence, sailed clockwise round the island, the islanders assumed this year Lono had decided to join the celebrations in person rather than effigy.

Anyway, Cook comes back after participating in their festival and the natives treat him much, much differently. Needless to say, Cook ends up being killed in a pretty gruesome fight. He was probably eaten too.

Pretty nifty stuff, heh? This book is full of stories like this. Fascinating.

• That's about it from me. Talk to you soon!

Posted by snackeru at July 18, 2007 8:45 AM


Hey Shane... If you are looking for a cool and legal music download site, check out eMusic.com. For $9.99 a month you get 30 downloads, for $14.99 a month you get 50 and for $19.99 a month you get 75. They have a lot of great indie bands on there, including Spoon, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Built to Spill, Gomez, and many others. If you are interested, send me an e-mail and I can send you a referral so you get 50 free downloads for a trial, rather than the 25 free downloads that they typically give. Unlike Apple, their downloads are mp3 and are not restricted. One of my friends got me hooked on eMusic.

Posted by: The Rational Actor at July 18, 2007 1:53 PM

Imagine if the Vulcans got to kill King Boreas. I suspect this is similar, albeit more culturally engrained then our "excuse to drinkin in January"

Posted by: CJ at July 18, 2007 2:24 PM

Shane - if you like those Jayhawks albums, check out the solo release from their drummer - Tim O'Reagan. It's named, oddly enough, "Tim O'Reagan."

I think you will like it.

Jeff T.

Posted by: Jeff T. at July 18, 2007 5:14 PM

agree with the shame on Free comment!

I've been buying my copies of the HP books from a Canadian book store so I can get the version published by Raincoast Books. These look way better than Scholastica's version.


Posted by: Snyder at July 18, 2007 5:44 PM


It's funny you mentioned Gopher football at the beginning of our blog entry today.

On the local news in Phoenix, as they were going to commercial break before the sports segment, the teaser said...A Minnesota football player caught on cellphone video, raping woman.

I instantly blurted out loud, "Jesus Christ, now which Viking has disgraced us all?"

Come to find out it was a Gopher. How sad. I'm sure Bubba will be waiting for him in his cell.

Posted by: kevin in az at July 18, 2007 9:48 PM

A few random responses...

Emusic is great, actually you can get the free 25 songs and then immediately cancel your account. You can then sign up again with a different credit card, get 25 free songs then immediately cancel your account. Rinse and repeat.

Shane if you like the Jayhawks, you might want to try Bellwether. They are also local but not nationally known so their music maybe harder to steal, err I mean find.

Hey Shane, Charlie is going to Many Point on Sunday too! Not me. Look for him he is in Troop 512.

O.k. I did download the .jpg with the entirety of Deathly Hallows photographed. Don't worry no spoilers here. It would be impossible to read on the computer but I did check in on the fate of a few characters. I will also be in line on Saturday or Sunday so J.K. Rowling will still get my $25.00.

However I don't see the big deal with checking out the .jpg, I think most if not all who look at the download version are still going to buy the book. As for spoilers, I am sure unless you keep yourself in quarentine (or Many Point) you will undoubted hear what happens by Monday or Tuesday. Finally I'll ask the Greet Machiners this question, if I told you that Matt Groening was my cousin and he was giving me a private viewing of the new Simpsons' movie before it was released, would you turn down my invitation to watch with me?

Click on my name for more discussion (non spoiler) discussion of Harry Potter.

Posted by: freealonzo at July 19, 2007 9:54 AM

btw, the New York Times came out with their review of Deathly Hallows in their on-line version today. I won't link as it contains minor spoilers.

Posted by: freealonzo at July 19, 2007 11:00 AM

I've spent many a summer week up at Many Point Scout Camp. We'd always stay in the 'Ely' campsite within the 'Voyageur' camp (map linked w/ my name). Good times - sleeping in big old military pole tents, on cots, with mosquito netting.

Posted by: Alex B at July 19, 2007 12:52 PM

By Jim Souhan, Star Tribune

Luckily for the Twins, they've held onto all of their prospects instead of trading for a hitter, so all those fine young pitchers will be available to lose one-run games in the new ballpark in 2010

Posted by: JimmyS. at July 20, 2007 9:51 AM

Thoughtful music? You mean like Sufjan Stevens' magic Swedish nose flute?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at July 20, 2007 10:55 AM

Is Off the Map an explorers' version of A Short History of Nearly Everything? If so, I'll be reading that shortly!

Posted by: Will Young at July 25, 2007 9:02 AM

Off the Map is a great read! My favorite moment was when Henry Hudson expected Hudson Bay to be the Pacific! Imagine his surprise when it didn't warm up the further south he went. It was also tragic how Robert Falcon Scott and his crew died only 11 miles from camp.

A truly great book, and I recommend it to everyone.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at September 5, 2007 5:08 PM

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